Last Friday, Feb. 19, both Minnesota senators found themselves occupied with bankers, although neither serves on Sen. Dodd’s banking committee. Sen. Al Franken participated in an economic development forum in Bemidji, addressing a wide range of issues, including banking. Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar listened to 40-some bankers discuss issues at a 90-minute meeting at the Minneapolis Club.
Paul Welle, a vice president at First National Bank in Bemidji, asked Sen. Franken to protect community banks from additional regulatory burden. The Saint Clout Times covered the meeting with this story.
In Minneapolis, Russ Nelson moderated a meeting organized by Pinehurst Bank of St. Paul. Nelson is a board member at the bank. Minnesota Bankers Association President/CEO Joe Witt and Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota President/CEO Marshall MacKay were there, as well as bankers from all over the state. Sen. Klobuchar and three aides took notes as bankers shared their frustrations and concerns.
Most of the banker comments noted the rigidity of examiners; bankers said they were looking for regulatory flexibility to help them get through economic challenges.
At one point, a banker asked Sen. Klobuchar, whether she wants community banks to survive. She responded: “yes, we absolutely want community banks.”
Klobuchar said she found the comments to be instructive and she assured them she would follow up on their concerns.